Jonathon Heatlie thinks incumbent Salmo mayor Diana Lockwood has been doing a great job.
But he’s running against her anyway.
“We’ve been together on council for a long time,” he told the Nelson Star. “It’s nothing personal. She does great work. I just think that I deserve a chance to do the same great work.”
Lockwood said she has no idea why Heatlie is running against her, given his professed support for her performance as mayor over the past four years.
Heatlie, 42, has been on Salmo council for two terms. Lockwood was a fellow councillor for the first of those terms, and mayor for the next.
Lockwood and Heatlie are the only candidates for mayor of Salmo in the Oct. 15 municipal election.
Heatlie works at Porcupine Wood Products running saws and heavy equipment. He said he has received a lot of “push from the public” to run. Salmo is changing, he says, with younger families moving in, and he wants to see a younger demographic on council.
“I just want more young people to understand that they don’t have to wait for the old guard to make decisions.”
He said the younger people in Salmo have “lots of great ideas about sustainability and being energy efficient. And those are the kinds of voices that I want to back and I want to stand up for.”
Asked if Lockwood and the current council has seemed receptive to those progressive ideas, he said they have.
Heatlie said Salmo council should improve its communication with the public. He wonders why a public meeting about changing Salmo’s zoning bylaw only attracted three people, and he blames council’s communication strategies.
Heatlie said he wants to oversee a planned major upgrade of the village’s water system.
Lockwood was elected to council in 2014 and to the mayor’s chair in 2018.
Two of her main priorities as mayor, she said, would be to ensure the safety of the town’s dike and to upgrade the bridge that connects the elementary school to the downtown.
She said her council increased transit service to Nelson and is working on better transit to Trail and to Selkirk College in Castlegar. Through a coalition of mayors she pushed for the current work on improvements to the “S-turn” on Highway 6 between Salmo and Ymir.
Lockwood said she fought for the recent approval of library taxation in rural Area G, worked to improve the recycling depot in Salmo, and wants to continue working for improved broadband in the area.
She has been part of the development of the new Official Community Plan over several years and has overseen a new zoning bylaw attached to it. She wants to address housing issues in Salmo by working with developers, and by finding ways to address what she calls hidden homelessness.
“We do not see homelessness in our downtown. But we have a lot that live in our surrounding bush and up logging roads … That’s something that isn’t staring us totally in the face. But it’s there.”
There are five candidates in Salmo for the four-person village council: Anne Williams, Melanie Cox, Kenzie Neil, incumbent councillor Jennifer Lins, and Todd Wallace, who was on council prior to 2018.